Rates and rents concern as store to shut in new year

The Greenwoods Menswear shop in Alnwick.
The Greenwoods Menswear shop in Alnwick.

A long-standing Alnwick shop is to shut at the start of next year, and the Gazette understands it is because of the crippling burden of business rates and rents.

The town’s Greenwoods Menswear store is currently running a closing-down sale and we have been told that it will shut on January 3.

The Gazette tried to get an official comment from the head office of Greenwoods, which has shops throughout the UK, but we did not receive a statement by the time we went to press yesterday, despite a number of requests.

However, someone from the company did indicate that the reason for the closure of the Paikes Street-based shop was down to the high costs of rates and rents in Alnwick.

And this view was echoed by Alnwick Chamber of Trade chairman Carlo Biagioni, who claims it is an issue throughout the town.

He said: “Traders need help with the business rates and rents and I think this seems to be the issue with Greenwoods. It is a shame that the shop is closing.

“This situation with rates and rents really needs to be improved because I can name two or three other shops in the town who are struggling because of this and are just about making it.”

He described the closure of Greenwoods as a blow and added: “Narrowgate, for example, is really coming along at the moment, but then you have a store closure in another part of the town.

“It seems that you take one step forward and then one step back.”

Mr Biagioni, who owns Carlos fish and chip shop on Market Street, also believes there are too many charity shops in the town.

“It is an issue,” he told the Gazette.

“It is good to have them, but they take away from other businesses. I believe it is about finding a balance.”

One store in the town which is undergoing a change is Granite Outdoors, which is located close to Greenwoods.

The Gazette has been told that it is set to be rebranded and will operate under the new title of Field and Trek.